When I called for reservations at an oddly-named Chinese restaurant in Rosemead, the first words I heard were ni hao (“hello” in Mandarin), which is generally a good sign of authenticity. JTYH did not disappoint in this respect.
I decided to try JTYH for their shanxi dao xiao mian, or knife-shaved noodles, which involve shaving noodles off rice dough into the boiling water. There are also mung bean noodles made in this style in Yunnan, but they are unfortunately not available at JTYH. Jonathan Gold, one of Los Angeles’s most acclaimed food critics, claims that JTYH boasts the best knife-shaved noodles in LA, but a few Yelp users hinted at mediocrity. My conclusion is that some L.A. foodies have been so spoiled by the delights of the various “Asia-towns” that they have become gastronomically delusional.
The JTYH in the restaurant’s name doesn’t mean anything in particular. Apparently a fortune teller claimed that the series of letters would bring luck to the restaurant, but JTYH brings more than that to the table. The subtitle of the restaurant is Heavy Noodle, and heavy noodling is exactly what diners there are doing.
When ordering a noodle dish, one is faced with the dilemma of choosing between knife-shaved noodles and hand-pulled noodles. There are worse problems to have. Hand-pulled noodles are made with three- or four-foot pieces of dough, which are repeatedly stretched and pulled to produce long, thin noodles. Although JTYH is recognized for their knife-shaved noodles, their hand-pulled noodles are nothing to write off. The Dan Dan Noodles, a common Sichuan noodle dish that uses peanuts, Sichuan peppercorns, and other spices, might even be better with the thinner, spice-absorbing hand-pulled noodles. The only real solution is to go with a friend and order both.
Noodles can either be ordered in stir-fried or noodle soup form. The broth in the various noodle soups is pleasant, but the focus is undoubtedly on the thick, textured knife-shaved noodles, which would be quite tasty without any spice at all. The mooshu-fried noodle is generally recommended for those who don’t want soup. As an added bonus, the noodle servings can feed two to three people and are in the six dollar range.
Although it may seem like a stretch, JTYH offers quite a bit besides noodles. The first taste of my meal was a cold, spicy beef dish that looked similar to prosciutto. The dish is translated into English on the menu as “Spicy Beef & Tripe,” but the literal translation of its Chinese name is “Wife and Husband Beef Lung.” I am not sure what the implication of that is, but the taste is fantastic. The beef roll, which is the Chinese version of a large beef burrito, is a deliciously flaky combination of sweet beef, cucumber, and hoisin sauce. (If you really like the beef roll, I recommend a visit to 101 Noodle Express in Alhambra.) Another notable menu item is JTYH’s pan-fried pork bun. The only thing wrong with the tennis-ball sized buns (ten for $7.95) is that they tend to fill you up quickly, which can be regrettable if your goal is to try other menu items as well. The dumplings are good but not spectacular. JTYH has good-quality standard Sichuan appetizers, including Pig Ear with Spicy Oil, Simmered Seaweed, and Mung Bean Jelly in Chili Sauce. There are also various stir-fried dishes, including a wonderfully spicy beef dish translated as “Sichuan Spicy Beef.”
JTYH may not be the best Chinese eatery in L.A., but a visit will certainly provide an excellent and affordable meal. It is also very accessible from Claremont. Take the I-10 West, get off at exit 27 and you’re practically there. Note: If you say you found out about JTYH from Yelp, you get a free cold cucumber dish.
JTYH is located at 9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770. The phone number is (626) 442-8999. Reservations are suggested.